Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Republicans announce reform plan

The Washington Post today reports on the Republican Proposition for lobbying restrictions. There is so much stuff in that article to comment on I hardly know where to start. You should read the whole thing, and be sure to note how the reporter goes out of his way to make the Republicans look bad.

And it's mostly good news, the Republicans are not dragging their feet. The legislation they propose will be pushed through at the end of February. Which for Washington is incredibly fast. This is a bureaucratic problem and a bureacracy is being reformed, normally that should take years and not work. But if this gets passed it will be drastic enough that it will work, and fast enough that everyone in congress will have to pay attention.

Secondly they have confirmed a point that I made when the Abramoff scandal first broke that what everyone was scared of was the precedent. Nobody knows what's legal and not legal anymore. Denny Hastert said this
We need to reform the rules so that it is clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what is ethically acceptable,"
If the rules are spelled out as to exactly what is ok and what is not then congressmen will be less willing to bend rules and hopefully be more focused on doing their job and serving their country.

The third thing I really liked in the proposal was the following
Lawmakers convicted of a felony related to their official duties would lose their congressional pensions under the GOP plan. Lobbyists and others seeking favors in Congress would have to publicly detail more of their activities and reveal them more frequently than the quarterly disclosures now required.
Yeah I love that part. Senate pension packages are very cushy. This sends a hard clear message: "mess around with the law and pay the price for a long time". We don't need to baby these people just because we have given them power. Especially if they abuse the faith we have put in them. Don Surber also likes this idea a lot.

The Democrats of course claim to have a plan of their own. And they say that they will be revealing it soon. Heh wow, when was the last time you heard the Democrats actually outlining ideas or proposing action? It will be an historic event. Of course the plan is more than likely Nancy Pelosi's bullet points on how to work the term "culture of corruption" in to every sentence you utter.

There's a chance that reform might also come to the areas of pork barrel spending on pet projects, and 527 group funding. The Republicans want to cut down on pork barrel spending because that is an issue that will win them elections. Democrats want the 527's hamstrung because even though they raised tons more money through them, the Republicans used them much more effectively(Swift Boat Veterans). Completely lost on the Democrats is the fact that Republicans used 527's to forward issues and ideas while the Dems mostly used the money to smear Republicans. The results speak for themselves. Ooops sorry for the tangent.

All in all I'm impressed. I hope this gets lots of attention and gets implemented quickly. Expect to see this in the news through the "in response to growing evidence of corruption in the party, the Republicans propose...".

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